For reference, I am talking about ads like the Allstate commercial where the famous narrator, Dennis Dexter Haysbert, gets recognized for being the “safe drivers save 40%” guy, rather than the “good hands” guy, which is how everyone knows him. So do self-aware, disruptive ads like that work?

Short answer: Yes, advertising that pokes fun at itself is effective because it admits that no one likes to be “sold.” Generally younger people like the technique because it builds trust and a kind of humorous relationship with the brand — like that friendly guy at work you always joke with, but whose last name you don’t know.


An article by Mitch Fait at states that there are two reasons why anti-advertising might fall short. First, more “staid” or serious brands “may seem awkward when adopting anti-marking; trying to be ‘cool’ is a sure-fire way of assuring a brand won’t be.” So, no, Bank of America, do not try this. My money is in your vaults — do not try to be hip.

Another reason anti-ads may not work, according to the article, is when they are overused. I don’t think we have hit the saturation point just yet because of the massive skepticism of the under-35 market, but it is something to watch out for.

Want to try a bit of self-aware advertising or content creation? Let’s talk about it!

Thanks for reading,